Christie’s School Funding Surprise: Maintain the Status Quo
“So now I will make one final offer. In fact, I will make a pledge. I pledge to work with the leaders of the legislature to come up with a new funding formula. Everything is on the table. No idea out of bounds for discussion. I am willing to work with you to solve this problem without any pre-conditions on the ideas brought to the table.
- Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget Address, February 28, 2017
Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday presented his budget for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1.
A look at the broad strokes of his proposal, which now heads to the Legislature for consideration:
2018 proposed: $35.5 billion
2017 adopted: $34.5 billion
Difference: An increase of $1 billion, or 2.9 percent
About 82 percent of the growth in spending is because of increases in the cost of the state pension system, public employee health benefits and debt service, Treasurer Ford M. Scudder said.
Where the money goes
- $15.2 billion for state aid (includes school and municipal aid)
- $10.3 billion for grants-in-aid (includes funding for higher education and New Jersey’s Medicaid expansion)
- $3.5 billion for executive operations (includes prisons and law enforcement)
- $2.8 billion for state employee benefits, rent and utilities
- $2.8 billion for debt service
- $826 million for the Legislature and Judiciary
- $2.5 billion for the public employee pension fund, an increase of more than $600 million over the contribution for fiscal 2017 and the largest in state history
- $13.8 billion for education, an increase of $523 million from 2017, plus $2.2 billion for higher education
- $1.5 billion for municipal aid, the same amount as in 2017
- $1 billion for direct property tax relief programs, also flat from 2017
- $705 million for hospitals, a decrease of $20 million
Source: New Jersey Department of the Treasury